Hansen and Walden (2012)

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1. Relationship between protection (subject matter/term/scope) and supply/economic development/growth/welfare 2. Relationship between creative process and protection - what motivates creators (e.g. attribution; control; remuneration; time allocation)? 3. Harmony of interest assumption between authors and publishers (creators and producers/investors) 4. Effects of protection on industry structure (e.g. oligopolies; competition; economics of superstars; business models; technology adoption) 5. Understanding consumption/use (e.g. determinants of unlawful behaviour; user-generated content; social media)

A. Nature and Scope of exclusive rights (hyperlinking/browsing; reproduction right) B. Exceptions (distinguish innovation and public policy purposes; open-ended/closed list; commercial/non-commercial distinction) C. Mass digitisation/orphan works (non-use; extended collective licensing) D. Licensing and Business models (collecting societies; meta data; exchanges/hubs; windowing; crossborder availability) E. Fair remuneration (levies; copyright contracts) F. Enforcement (quantifying infringement; criminal sanctions; intermediary liability; graduated response; litigation and court data; commercial/non-commercial distinction; education and awareness)

Source Details

Hansen and Walden (2012)
Title: The Role of Restrictiveness of Use in Determining Ethical and Legal Awareness of Unauthorized File Sharing
Author(s): Hansen, J. M., Walden, E. A.
Year: 2012
Citation: Hansen, J. M., & Walden, E. (2013). The Role of Restrictiveness of Use in Determining Ethical and Legal Awareness of Unauthorized File Sharing. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 14(9), 521-549.
Link(s): Definitive , Open Access
Key Related Studies:
Discipline:
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About the Data
Data Description: Theory Development: Thirty-four undergraduate students participated in one of two focus groups at different U.S. universities on consumer media file sharing exchanges in partial fulfillment of a course requirement.

Study 1: Respondents comprised 473 consumers from 20 states in the United States (out of approximately 600 invited, for a 77% response rate) who completed the within-sample experimental design study. Respondents were part of an online survey panel that is a representative sample of American adults. Access was aquired through Qualtrics.com. Respondents were 25 percent (n = 118) aged 18 to 24, 13 percent (n = 61) aged 26 to 34, 12 percent (n = 57) aged 35 to 44, 33 percent (n = 154) aged 45 to 54, 12 percent (n = 55) aged 55 to 64, and 6 percent (n = 28) aged 65 and plus; the sample contained approximately the same number of male and female respondents.

Study 2: Participants comprised 196 (out of 211, for a 93% response rate) students at a major U.S. Midwestern university who were randomly assigned to a three-level (restrictiveness: streaming, download and delete, download and keep) between-subject experimental design.

Study 3: Participants comprised 294 (45% female, 55% male) individuals enrolled at a major U.S. Southwestern university. Subjects were part of the university subject pool and received course credit for participating. The amount of credit was not dependant on the nature of responses, and responses were keep separate from identities to ensure confidentiality. The response rate was 98 percent (out of 300 invitations). Participants were randomly assigned to a 5 (restrictiveness: “streaming,” “download and delete,” “download and keep copy for self,” “download, keep, and make electronic copy for five friends,” “download, keep, and make copies for 50 friends”) x 2 (dependent variable focus: rating ethicalness, rating legality) between-subject design.

Data Type: Primary data
Secondary Data Sources:
Data Collection Methods:
Data Analysis Methods:
Industry(ies):
Country(ies):
Cross Country Study?: No
Comparative Study?: No
Literature review?: No
Government or policy study?: No
Time Period(s) of Collection:
  • Not stated
Funder(s):
  • None

Abstract

A host of different types of information goods are available for free download from illegal file sharing sites. As far as price is concerned, no company can compete against “free.” Hence, managers, researchers, and policy makers are interested in determining factors other than price that might influence consumers’ file sharing behavior. Moral consideration is one factor that might sway individuals to pay for files they could otherwise obtain for free. To help better understand how moral consideration works in the context of file sharing, this research examines how people form perceptions of the legality and ethicalness of downloading music files through file sharing. We propose that when people receive files in a more restrictive manner (e.g. streaming vs. downloading) they are less likely to recognize file sharing as being unethical or illegal. We conduct five studies to test our theory of restrictiveness. The results consistently indicate that consumers’ perceptions of legality and ethicalness of file sharing are associated with restrictiveness of use. In particular, while file sharing with different levels of restrictiveness still transfers intellectual property from one individual to another, increased restrictiveness results in consumers being less likely to identify file sharing as being illegal or unethical. This in turn has a great impact on their actual engagement in the unauthorized file sharing activities. We find the relationships are significant even when controlling for several other elements such as gender, age, income, and prior knowledge about how and where to go on the internet to participate in file sharing.

Main Results of the Study

Main results of studies:

  • The results of our three studies consistently demonstrate that typical people do not think file sharing is unethical per se, or even illegal per se.
  • People often do not really know whether file sharing is ethical and/or legal and they make judgments based on the particular circumstances and their own limited, or nonexistent, copyright law expertise.
  • Subjects with similar personal moral development assigned different ethical and legal dimensions to different stages of perceived property rights transfer. That is, the perceived restrictiveness of a transfer (i.e., streaming a song online versus listening to a tangible CD) affected consumers’ ethical and legal stances.
  • This suggests that many consumers may feel they are acting consistently with their ethical and legal views when they participate in forms of unauthorized file sharing because they do not “see” a “physical” transfer of property rights.
  • Variation in ethical and legal perceptions arises not only between individuals, but also between circumstances.
  • Not only are more consumers likely to view situations that are more restrictive as ethical, but they are more likely to participate in those situations.

Policy Implications as Stated By Author

Policy implications:

  • The results of this study sggest that typical people are more sophisticated in their view toward file sharing than the industry gives them credit for. The results suggest that most consumers view that there ethically and legally should be some allowance for subsequent reuse, but that such reuse should also have boundaries. Further research is needed to more clearly establish what the boundaries are for restrictiveness of use.
  • Industry practitioners attempting to develop campaigns based on the results contained in this article should be aware that research has found that consumers more often follow social norms rather than requests from corporations. this should have some bearing on the design of advertising campaigns.
  • Consumers’ restrictiveness judgments appear to be compounded by notions of “time” and “location”. That is, while most consumers believe in something like the hypernorm “thou shalt not steal," stealing, as an activity, becomes increasingly fuzzy in intellectual property rights that are (for the most part) bound by time and location (i.e., geography).
  • A more-effective approach to limiting file sharing is to educate people about how much they are really sharing and with whom they are really sharing.



Coverage of Study

Coverage of Fundamental Issues
Issue Included within Study
Relationship between protection (subject matter/term/scope) and supply/economic development/growth/welfare
Relationship between creative process and protection - what motivates creators (e.g. attribution; control; remuneration; time allocation)?
Harmony of interest assumption between authors and publishers (creators and producers/investors)
Effects of protection on industry structure (e.g. oligopolies; competition; economics of superstars; business models; technology adoption)
Understanding consumption/use (e.g. determinants of unlawful behaviour; user-generated content; social media)
Green-tick.png
Coverage of Evidence Based Policies
Issue Included within Study
Nature and Scope of exclusive rights (hyperlinking/browsing; reproduction right)
Exceptions (distinguish innovation and public policy purposes; open-ended/closed list; commercial/non-commercial distinction)
Mass digitisation/orphan works (non-use; extended collective licensing)
Licensing and Business models (collecting societies; meta data; exchanges/hubs; windowing; crossborder availability)
Fair remuneration (levies; copyright contracts)
Enforcement (quantifying infringement; criminal sanctions; intermediary liability; graduated response; litigation and court data; commercial/non-commercial distinction; education and awareness)
Green-tick.png

Datasets

Sample size: 473
Level of aggregation: Individual
Period of material under study: Not stated


Sample size: 196
Level of aggregation: University students
Period of material under study: Not stated


Sample size: 294
Level of aggregation: University students
Period of material under study: Not stated


Sample size: 34
Level of aggregation: University students
Period of material under study: Not stated